WordPress is arguably (and generally) the best content management system out there. It is flexible, robust, and easy-to-use. Almost every of the major websites, specifically online publications, run on WordPress. If we go on talking about the platform, we will probably never get the time to discuss the best WordPress plugins of all time. It is the open-source nature of the platform that makes it so popular and vast.
Note: WordPress.org is a self-hosted version of WordPress where you get full control of what you want to do with it, whereas the WordPress.com is a portal which lets you create a free website which runs on WordPress but with limited functionalities.
Why do we need WordPress Plugins?
We have WordPress plugins for a variety of uses such as sending newsletters, securing the site, adding social sharing buttons, installing an anti-spam system, and so on. So, with WordPress plugins, we can equip the platform with a lot of additional functionalities.
You do not need any coding skills to extend the functionality of your website. It is only possible because of the available plugins for WordPress. In a nutshell, to make the most out of a WordPress platform, we need to utilize the best WordPress plugins.
WordPress Plugins Availability
You can find thousands of WordPress plugins from its very own database. You just need to hover the cursor above the “Plugins” option in the WordPress menu and then click on “Add New” as shown in the image below.
Now, you can search for the desired plugin and start installing it. However, the official WP plugins database is not enough. You get a variety of premium plugins from 3rd Party WordPress plugin directories as well. One of the most trusted 3rd Party stores is CodeCanyon.
CodeCanyon is a dedicated portal for Plugins & Codes by Envato Market. It does not offer free WordPress plugins. So, you will have to purchase the plugins you like the most. The price range starts from about 10 USD to nearly around 100 USD.
After downloading the WordPress plugin installation file, you just need to navigate your way to the “Add New” option from the Plugins menu as shown in the image above, and then upload the file by clicking on “Upload Plugin“.
Let us now move on to take a look at the best WordPress plugins to serve different purposes.
Best Multi-Purpose WordPress Plugin
Jetpack by WordPress.Com (Active Installs: 1+ Million)
Jetpack acts as one of the best starter kits for WordPress. Jetpack would help you to make the most out of the WordPress platform without the need for several additional plugins.
It is an all-in-one plugin which optimizes the images, provides a comment system, secures your site, and works as an alternative to Google Analytics as well. It is definitely a must-have plugin. However, when looking at a bigger picture, you may observe that JetPack requires you to have a powerful hosting environment. It may slow down your site at times.
In either case, it is a feature-rich, powerful yet a free plugin which you can try as an alternative to multiple plugins.
Best WordPress Plugins For SEO
Yoast SEO (Active Installs: 1+ Million)
When it comes to search engine optimization, the Yoast SEO plugin acts as the most precious plugin for the job. It is a really powerful yet simple SEO plugin for WordPress.
Yoast SEO is one of the main ingredients to every secret recipe in bringing organic traffic to a WordPress site. Even if you do not know what SEO is, you can walk through the suggestions put by the Yoast SEO plugin on your posts to make it search engine friendly.
No matter whether you are a novice or an expert, you can always rely on Yoast SEO to help optimize every posts and page to rank higher in search engines. Yoast SEO’s premium version has a lot to offer which could help you turn the wave. But, if the free version does the work for you, then the premium version is probably not necessary.
All-in-one SEO Pack (Active Installs: 1+ Million)
Yet another popular SEO plugin for WordPress – All in One SEO Pack. It offers a couple of premium features like WooCommerce integration for free.
The functionalities offered here are almost identical with Yoast SEO’s plugin. So, you can choose any of the two to your choice. All-in-one SEO pack is a simple plugin that offers a lot of advanced features for free. However, it does not concentrate on the readability and content as Yoast SEO plugin does.
All in One SEO pack plugin would be recommended for the webmasters who want some more advanced features to optimize their site for the search engines. It is easy to use as well with impressive functionalities.
Best WordPress Plugins For Security
Wordfence (Active Installs: 1+ Million)
When we talk about securing a WordPress site, it is often confusing for the beginners to choose from a variety of security plugins for WordPress.
Wordfence is one of the best security plugins for WordPress. It is powerful, provides a lot of security options, and works real-time. For instance, if there is a known vulnerability, Wordfence would still be able to protect your site by increasing the difficulty for an attacker to exploit the vulnerability.
Wordfence comes with a built in WAF service which shields your site against any type of possible attacks. It does offer a pro version to it but you can achieve almost everything with the free version as well. You may take a look at the extra features with the premium version and then decide whether it is worth upgrading or not.
However, Wordfence requires a powerful hosting environment to run without any issues. If you are on a hosting package that does not offer you much power, you may encounter a few issues with it which can be resolved manually by tweaking your memory limit, timeout settings, and so on.
iThemes Security (Active Installs: 800k)
iThemes Security, previously known as “Better WP Security” is a must-have security plugin for WordPress. If you are on a lower hosting plan which does not offer you much power, then iThemes Security would be a treat to have installed.
It is not as powerful as Wordfence nor it offers a ton of free features. So, iThemes Security acts as a premium yet a light solution to have installed on your WordPress site. You can still have protection for your site enabled with the free version. If you want access to more features and support, feel free to upgrade it to the pro version.
Best Advertising Plugins For WordPress
If you want to monetize your site with a variety of banner advertisements and iframe advertisements, Ads Pro plugin should be the best companion to have installed on your site.
You get a wide range of advertisement spaces without extra coding modifications to your theme. It also provides an admin interface for your customers to buy / reserve ad spaces on your site. Almost everything needs a one-time setup and the advertiser can get a complete insight on the advertisement’s performance on your site.
It also comes with Woocommerce integration through which you can advertise your own products to increase sales and offer convenient payment modes to your visitors. It also comes baked in with add-ons for affiliate marketing. If you were looking for a way to manage your ads and make the most out of your website through the traditional way of monetization along with modern integrations, this would be the plugin of your choice.
WP Pro is a cheaper alternative to the Ads Pro plugin. The features are almost identical and as flexible as you would expect.
WP Pro is definitely a steal deal considering the price difference between both the featured advertising plugins. However, you may find the back-end interface to be better on Ads Pro. When considering the features and add-ons for advertising and marketing, you can do everything with WP Pro installed as well.
In addition, we did observe that the page load time was affected more with Pro Ads installed. So, if you are serious about your website’s load time, you should prefer WP Pro Advertising system.
Best WordPress Plugins For Contact Forms
Contact Form 7 (Active Installs: 1+ Million)
Contact Form 7 is one of the most loved plugins for WordPress. Most of the webmasters know that a contact page is crucial when you want to communicate with your customers, potential advertisers, and for other business queries.
An ideal contact page must contain the required fields for a visitor. Contact Form 7 provides various fields which would help you identify the customer with ease, and make it easier for the visitor to convey the message properly. It provides a convenient way to manage your contact forms, be it for a survey or just for the after-sales support.
Contact Form 7 does not offer an out of the box interface but it is way more simple and flexible. The more easy filling the contact form becomes the chances of a visitor conveying a message also increases.
Ninja Forms (Active Installs: 7+ Lakhs)
Ninja Forms is yet another popular contact form plugin which takes a simple approach to help create beautiful contact forms. To an extent, Ninja Forms might seem more attractive to look at. However, it comes down to your personal preference when there are no significant differences between the two.
Ninja forms are equally powerful and flexible as Contact Form 7 with an attractive back-end user interface. It does provide an easy-to-use (drag and drop feature) to create quick contact forms.
Best WordPress Plugins For Image Optimization
WP Smush (Active Installs: 5+ Lakhs)
WP Smush is an evergreen plugin recommendation for the webmasters who are looking to build a faster user experience on their site. If you want to improve the page load time on your site, simply optimizing your images would do the trick.
WP Smush optimizes the images in the best way one can imagine without compromising the quality of an image. It also supports bulk smush which lets you compress almost 50 images at a time. It is one of the perfect image optimization solutions for WordPress sites.
In addition, it also lets you set a custom dimension for the images you upload. So, when you upload an image, it automatically scales down the image to the required size which ensures an optimal image without affecting the page load time.
Optimus (Active Installs: 20,000+)
Optimus image optimization plugin may not be as popular as WP Smush, but if you were looking for an alternative with future-proof functionalities, this is the one.
Optimus plugin is the only one to offer WebP image conversion. And, its pro version is way less cheap than WP Smush Pro. All things considered, it is an equally powerful image optimization plugin for WordPress.
Do note that WebP image format provides the best possible compressed image even if you have an already compressed JPEG / PNG image. To know more about it, you can head for a case study which explains the benefits of using WebP images. You may observe a bit more delay when uploading the images, but it is barely noticeable when you have a good Internet connection speed.
Best Page Builder Plugins For WordPress
Visual Composer is a premium page builder plugin. It is the most powerful and easy-to-use drag and drop page builder. It is used by most of the professional webmasters out there.
Most of the composer plugins encounter issues when used in combination with other caching plugins. However, Visual Composer plugin is compatible with almost any caching plugins and themes.
The Visual Composer plugin presents you with a front-end and a back-end editor which makes it a convenient solution. It also offers a couple of add-ons which helps you extend the functionality of the plugin.
Page Builder by SiteOrigin (Active Installs: 1+ Million)
Page Builder by SiteOrigin is a free alternative to the Visual Composer. It is yet another feature-rich and widely compatible page builder plugin.
If you are not in a mood to buy a composer plugin, this should be your best choice for the job. This plugin fulfills all of your basic requirements. However, it definitely lacks certain features which you would only get with the Visual Composer plugin but it should be your ideal choice if you were looking for a simple page builder plugin without any fancy features.
Best Spam Control Plugins For WordPress
Akismet (Active Installs: 1+ Million)
Let us face it, we all hate spam comments. Any comment which is irrelevant or forcefully tries to promote a product on a post is considered as spam.
When your website receives a sound organic traffic, it is prone to spam comments. If you get a couple of spam comments in a day, you can manually trash them. However, spam bots do exist which can submit thousands of comments on a blog post. You just need a good service which detects them and keeps them away from your blog.
Akismet is a free plugin which utilizes its web service to analyze each and every comment to your site before letting you see it. If Akismet detects a spam comment, it puts it in the spam queue which keeps your dashboard clutter free and gives you an option to review the comments. It is a very powerful and automated anti-spam solution to monitor comments on your blog.
WP-SpamShield (Active Installs: 1+ Lakh)
WP-SpamShield is a trending spam control plugin for WordPress. It deserves to be called as one of the best spam control plugins because of its accuracy to detect spam. It detects the spam comments, suspicious trackbacks, and pingbacks as well.
In addition, WP-SpamShield easily integrates with a lot of contact form plugins which further prevents spam registration / contact messages as well. It also obfuscates the email addresses mentioned on your site which significantly reduces spam e-mails.
Best Backup Plugins For WordPress
UpdraftPlus (Active Installs: 9+ Lakhs)
A backup solution for your site is a necessity. However, most of the reliable backup solutions are available as a paid option. UpdraftPlus brings in a different story. It utilizes Google Drive, Dropbox, S3, FTP, and other methods to present you a hassle free yet free backup solution for your WordPress site.
It does offer you a premium solution for guaranteed support and site cloning.
BackupBuddy is a complete premium backup solution for WordPress. If you need a reliable premium solution, Backupbuddy proves to be a better service than Updraft’s premium plan.
It makes moving to a new host a lot faster than you would expect. In addition, when you migrate to a new domain, BackupBuddy replaces all the URLs for you which makes it even more appealing as a premium backup solution.
Best WordPress Plugins For Caching
WP Super Cache (Active Installs: 1+ Million)
WP Super Cache plugin is a really simple but super powerful caching plugin. It presents you with a very simple back-end interface.
WP Super Cache does not bring in additional fancy features but it simply delivers the static HTML files to your visitors. Normally, your web pages are dynamic which takes a lot more time to load than the static HTML files. Fret not, it does not affect much of the functionalities of your web page.
As per our tests, it proved to be one of the simplest yet fastest caching plugins. However, every caching plugins suffer from certain issues with particular hosts. WP Super Cache is no exception for that, but if it works for you, it should be the best one to have installed.
W3 Total Cache (Active Installs: 1+ Million)
W3 Total Cache is a reliable caching plugin as well. However, to most of the users, it seems to be a bit more complex than expected from a caching plugin.
It brings in several features which claim to deliver a super fast experience to your visitors. In our case, we found it boosting the site speed with a huge improvement on the GoDaddy server. It might vary in your case. For novice WordPress administrators, we found it to be too complex. But, if you are alright with the options offered and it does perform better, you should keep it installed.
Best Social Sharing Plugins For WordPress
AddToAny Share Buttons (Active Installs: 3+ Lakhs)
AddToAny plugin is completely a free social sharing plugin. It offers mobile optimized and retina ready social sharing buttons. It lets you choose from over 100 social services. Also, it gives you the ability to integrate Google Analytics to get a more detailed statistics on it.
With AddToAny plugin, you can place the social share bar almost anywhere you want (before content, after content, and both). It also provides you a shortcode which you can utilize anywhere suitable. You can also add an interactive vertical floating social share bar and a horizontal floating social share bar. In addition, you can also set custom icons for any of the social sharing buttons offered.
Easy Social Share plugin is one of the most affordable, flexible, and powerful social sharing plugins. It is not a free solution but it is definitely worth the investment.
It would cost you around 19 USD as a one-time purchase. It equips you with a variety of features but not limited to just social sharing buttons. You can create after-share actions to keep your visitors engaged and happy. You also get the ability to integrate subscription forms inside your content. It also gives you access to the social share analytics. In addition, the Easy Social Share plugin presents you with a wide variety of button styles which look absolutely stunning.
Best Comment Plugins For WordPress
Disqus Comment System (Active Installs: 2+ Lakhs)
Disqus comment system is the most popular choice for WordPress sites. You can even observe Disqus comments on this web page.
It replaces the traditional comment system, thereby eliminating the possibility of spam comments. Disqus comment system proves to be an interactive system which encourages a reader or customer to engage in a discussion on a certain post. You can even assign one of your team members to monitor the comments.
CommentLuv (Active Installs: 20,000+)
CommentLuv is a unique comment system which links every comment of yours with the recent blog post on your blog. It is not a good choice for professional publications but suitable for personal blogs. Also, with CommentLuv installed, you would observe a lot of relevant comments from your fellow webmasters or bloggers who seek to drop a link to their recent blog post. It would not harm your website in any way but would naturally increase the engagement on your blog.
Best Authentication Plugins For WordPress
Clef Two-Factor Authentication (Active Installs: 9+ Lakhs)
Clef 2-Factor authentication plugin is definitely the most innovative yet a powerful solution to secure your site. It lets you log in without typing anything which ensures zero keylogging and eliminating brute force attacks.
However, Clef 2-factor authentication requires you to have an active Internet connection on your PC and your smartphone as well. You just need to scan the Clef wave from your mobile app to log into your site.
MiniOrange Two-Factor Authentication (Active Installs: 3000+)
If you are not comfortable with using Clef as your method to log in, MiniOrange’s Two-factor authentication plugin would be your second best bet to protect your site.
It provides you one-time passwords through SMS, google authenticator integration, one-time passcodes via email, and a couple other login options. It is a free plugin but with limitations. In order to unlock access to every feature, you need to upgrade it to the premium version. When compared to other premium authentication plugins, it is a way cheaper solution being equally reliable.
Best Gallery Plugins For WordPress
NextGEN Gallery (Active Installs: 1+ Million)
NextGEN is a great gallery plugin which comes baked in with a lot of powerful features. Most of the professional photography WordPress sites utilize it to give a great user experience while navigating through the pictures.
You get a lot of customization ability which includes controlling the size, style, timing, transitions, and the lightbox effects of your gallery. It is a complete WordPress Gallery management solution.
Envira Gallery Lite (Active Installs: 60,000+)
Envira Gallery is a simpler alternative to NextGEN gallery. You would not get a lot of functionalities here but it would still provide your visitors a pleasing gallery experience.
As the name suggests, it is a “lite” gallery plugin which describes a faster load time. So, if you are concerned about the page load time while using a gallery plugin, Envira would be your best bet.
Best Text Editor Plugin For WordPress
TinyMCE Advanced (Active Installs: 1+ Million)
TinyMCE Advanced proves to be an excellent text editor plugin which equips you with flexible options while creating a post. It adds a lot of functionalities to the default WordPress text editor.
With TinyMCE Advanced, you can easily create tables, change quote style, modify font size, and set a different font style as well. A well-structured article definitely needs HTML heading tags and with TinyMCE, you can easily highlight a text and click on it to convert it into an H1 form of text or similar. When you utilize each and every option that TinyMCE provides, you will end up saving a lot of time while creating a blog post.
So, now after knowing about the best WordPress plugins, you can easily prop-up a WordPress site with useful functionalities. However, we would not recommend only using plugins you truly need. The more plugins you use, the harder it gets to resolve an issue with your site.
You have to be careful when considering your personal preferences while choosing the plugins to install. As a personal recommendation – security plugins, authentication plugins, and backup solutions should be your first priority. If you have a site which deals with a lot of readers, you should consider using image optimization plugins as well.
If you have a simple website with minimal content that already loads super fast, you should consider only a few of the plugins which you think might be useful.
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